sanglot: Christmas time and tears


On Day One we peddled our wines (meeting with an importer) at the Piccadilly Market in London...

~~~~~~~~~~~~ Language Learning ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Oxford Take Off In French: (CD-ROM): Follow an integrating course including activities and dialogues with native speakers so you can feel confident in day-to-day conversation.

foire (fwar) noun, feminine
    : fair
    : trade fair

[from the Latin "feriae" = holidays)

Note: this seems to be one case where a look-alike verb does *not* reflect the same meaning as the noun ("foirer" means "to have the runs"! Then again, some might argue that processed foire food is the missing link between the noun and the verb!)

Update!: turns out there *is* a second meaning to "foire":

A related Latin noun, "foria", means "diarrhea" and the word "foire", or "fair", eventually came to be used figuratively as a place where disorder and confusion reign. "Faire la foire" in contemporary French means to abandon oneself to a life of debauchery.

--from the book "Gender on the Market: Moroccan Women and the Revoicing of Tradition"

Don't miss the "Terms & Expressions" just after the shopping section below...

At the French Winegrowers' Fair in London, the participants were looking defeated. Fluorescent lighting added to the pasty pallor that we wore on our faces like death... that is: the death of wine sales!

Fair goers just weren't buying. (But, boy--oh boy!--were they ever "trying"! With clinking glasses and a "slur" in their step, the crowd proceeded to sample... and sip. "Thanks a lot," they said, the wine in their glasses now spent. "We'll just have a look around now... and get back to you in a moment."

At a stand in the next aisle, two sales women wore upside down smiles. I looked over to my "stand sisters" across the way and they puffed out their lips, commiserating "Ce n'est pas vrai!"*

By day two the French winegrowers had resorted to new sales-garnering tactics: one, in the form of a towering, blue-eyed brunette, and another, via some seductive pâté aux cèpes!*

I glanced over to our stand sisters across the aisle who, leary of all that, uncorked their bottles and (glug, glug, glug) mumbled "down with the hatch!"

*     *     *

Post note: Thankfully, for Jean-Marc and me, we were saved by a Francophile coterie.* Many thanks to those of you who responded to our invitations and, even more, showed up with friends! It was lovely to meet you all. And thank you for letting us snap your photo. I think we captured most of your smiling faces (except Misha's!... which reminds me: mille mercis to Alicia Weston and to Mikhail Kalinichev--our warm and doting hôtes*: I hope one day to find in me a host as graceful and gallant as these!

View London Photo Album (part one... more photos on the way...)

Comments, corrections, and suggestions welcome here.

ce n'est pas vrai
= this just can't be happening; le pâté (m) aux cèpes = porcini mushroom pâté; la coterie (f) = a circle of people with common interests; l'hôte (m) = host (l'hôtesse = hostess)

In Music: A French Christmas
Cèpes / Porcini Mushrooms
In film: Joyeux Noel

Childrens' book: "Three French Hens". The three French hens from the familiar Christmas song are sent by a Parisian lady to her boyfriend, Philippe Renard, in New York. Alas, the hens wind up in lost mail, and when they can't find Philippe in the phone book, they think perhaps they should translate his name: Phil Fox.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Hear French Words~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sound file: Listen to today's word, "foire" and this expression: "la foire aux vins" Download FoireDownload Foire

Terms & Expressions
la foire aux plaisirs = funfair
le champ de foire = fairground
la foire agricole = agricultural show
avoir la foire = to have the runs
faire la foire = to party hardy
la foire d'empoigne = free-for-all

Do you know of any related terms and expressions? Please share them, for all to see, in the comments box.

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety